My Very Favorites of 2008The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents - F, YA -Terry Pratchett
A Pigeon and a Boy - F- Meir Shalev
Eden's Outcasts: the Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father - NF, B -John Matteson
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society - F- Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
The Intention Experiment - NF- Lynn McTaggert
The Wasted Vigil - F- Nadeem Aslam
There were others that I truly enjoyed, but when I went back through, from January - December, the above books stood out.
My goals for next year will reflect a new approach. I want, as I mentioned in this post at Bayou Quilts, a Renaissance Mind, or as Ingrid E. Cummings describes it, a more vigorous mind. I've always loved the concept of the Renaissance Man - soldier, scholar, courtier. When discussing the Renaissance Man with my students, I put it in contemporary terms as well: athletic, well-read & knowledgeable on a variety of topics, and socially capable of carrying on interesting conversations.
I have tried to pursue athletics through tai chi and yoga; I certainly read abundantly, but lately, not with discrimination; I fall quite short in conversational skills, more so now, because I have become more insular.
Although I read a lot, my reading itineraries have become less and less organized in the last couple of years. Bringing more focus to these itineraries will take precedence in 2009; I want to be more selective. Examining my long list of books read was a disappointment; so much time spent on books with so little to recommend them.
No regrets on spending so much time on fiction (although I do intend to include more nonfiction this year), but regrets about the time spent on mediocre (at best) books. I am not an advocate of reading only educational books, classics, or "award-winning" fiction; books that are simply great entertainment should always be in the mix, even dominate the mix.
There will always be mystery, fantasy, and science fiction in my reading because I love those categories-- and from well-written books in those genres, I also learn something.
This year, however, I want to direct some of my reading in ways that broaden my horizons. (...and do more than just think about doing it--I have dozens of great books on my TBR list that have been neglected).
I've begun a list of topics that interest me and/or that I know very little about. :) Not surprisingly it is quite long and growing! Some of these topics merit a more organized study (yoga is one that I intend to study in a more orderly manner), others I'd like to explore just to gain a broader understanding, and then, perhaps, decide to devote greater effort.
My "curriculum" for a more well-rounded, Renaissance mind includes reading, study, yoga practice, physical fitness in general, watching documentaries, reading magazines, stepping outside of my comfort zone, being more socially involved, attending more art exhibits.... In small increments of time, one baby step after another.